Reported On This Day 280 Years Ago (June 26 1739): Serial killer in Brussels threatens to kill hundreds of girls

The Belfast News Letter of June 15 1739 (June 26 in the modern calendar)
The Belfast News Letter of June 15 1739 (June 26 in the modern calendar)
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From the Belfast News Letter of June 15 1739 (which is June 26 in the modern calendar):

FLANDERS. Brussels.

There is much talk here of an assassin that has murdered several girls between Mons and Valenciennes; and who, either thro’ folly or excess of wickedness, gives out, that before he has done he will kill 800.

He disguises himself in such manner that he has avoided being taken.

LONDON, June 5.

On Sunday night Mr. Whitefield preach’d his farewell sermon at Kennington-common, and collected 34l. 5s. for the Orphan house, being to embark in a few days for Philadelphia, &c. yesterday between four and five in the evening he left London, and proceeded to Blackheath, &c.

The total sum collected by him for the several charities is as follows: For the Orphan House 966l. For the poor in general 150. For erecting a church for the Slatzburghers 77. In all 1193 [£1193 is £280,000 in today’s money. George Whitefield was a founder of Methodism]

The lords took into consideration the present state of the nation, and considered the treaties we have on foot with the several powers in Europe, after which it was moved, whether the nonpayment of the 95,000l. by the king of Spain, pursuant to the convention treaty, is not an high indignity to his Majesty, and a great injustice, to the nation? after great debates, pro and con, the previous question was put, that the above question be now put, which was passed in the negative 63 against 44. [A Treaty of Pardo had tried to resolve Britain-Spain tension, including over a 1731 incident when a Spanish commander boarded a British boat and cut off the captain’s ear. Spain would pay Britain £95,000, £22m today, for seized goods and it would pay Spain £68,000, £16m, owing to a 1713 slave deal. Pardo’s failure would lead to the War of Jenkins’ Ear]

We also hear by private letters, that the admiral Haddock’s squadron will be as soon as possible, reinforced with a squadron of 14 men of war and two bomb ketches, which are fitting out, and will be man’d and sent with the utmost expedition; and it’s thought they’ll soon be got ready, there having been no less than 2000 men impress’d on the Thames in one night for that purpose.

And it’s also said that orders are sent to admiral Haddock to sail forthwith on the Spaniards wherever he finds them. [Impressment, seizing men for military service, and was much feared]

ITALY, Bologna, May 26. Advices from Rome say, that a magnificent travelling equipage is preparing there: some report that it is for the Pretender, and others for his son. Pasquin it seems has spoke his sense of his equipage, which is not yet made publick.

Dublin, June 12.

Yesterday being the anniversary of his majesty’s happy accession to the throne, when he entered into the 13th year of his reign, the same was observed here with the greatest demonstrations of joy.

The army was new cloathed on the occasion, who made a very fine appearance, particularly the hon. brigadier Hawley’s dragoons a squadron of which marched to the castle.

At noon, their excellencies the lords justice received the compliments of the nobility and gentry on the occasion, and the evening concluded with ringing of bells, bonfires, illuminations, and other demonstrations of joy.

At night there was a play for the ladies, at the Theatre in Smock-Alley. [George II had become king on June 11 1727]

Last Sunday, Mr. Milward, the celebrated player from Drury Lane, arrived here.

He is remarkable for being the only person, who hath played the parts of that great actor, the late Mr Wilks, and hath given as much satisfaction in all his performances. [William Milward was an apothecary turned actor, Robert Wilks was a Theatre Royal actor/manager]

Last Saturday Eneas Beane was tried for forcibly entering the house of Mr. Petticrew in Fleet Street, and in a violent manner taking thereout Mrs Sarah Hoope, and was found guilty of the same.

By a private letter from Dublin we learn, that an express was just arrived from his majesty, to their excellencies the lords justices of this kingdom, ordering ten regiments of foot to embark forthwith for Britain, 30 men, a serjeant and a drum being to be added to each company; and 50 men are to be added to every company that shall afterwards remain in this kingdom.

Those mark’d for embarkation are as follow.

Colonels. goes to

Guise, Scotland.



Onslowe, Bristol





Wentworth, Chester


And all officers of the army are ordered to their quarters immediately, which have much alarmed the Town, and gentlemen of the army are much hurried. [War was looming, see left]

Last Friday the right hon. the lord Santry was removed from Newgate to Mr. Smith, the keeper of Newgate’s country house near Kilmainham, for the benefit of the air. [Supporters of Santry, who been found guilty of a drunken murder, campaigned for a pardon]

Last Friday arrived in the Carteret paquet-boat, from Holyhead, the right hon. the lord Castledurrow.

Last week the Dublin Yacht sailed from Parkgate, to bring over his grace the archbishop of Dublin.

SCOTLAND. Edinburgh, June 5.

The Rt. Hon. the earl of Crawford was well in the Imperial camp on the 4th of May last. [He had been reported killed by a cannonball]

Their graces the duke and dutchess of Hamilton, with the infant lady their daughter, arrived yesternight at the palace of the Holy-rood house, with a handsome retinue from London.